Solution for a Cluttered Forecast View?

As a graphic designer, I routinely use a project template that contains 5 items, with one of them being an action group named “Prepare files for John Doe”. The action group contains about 30 items, serving as a checklist of all the files in their various formats that need to be handed off to the client. Because I need the action group “Prepare files for John Doe” to have a due date, all the items within it inherit that due date, and consequently my forecast view hundreds of granular actions, obscuring the bigger picture of what I need to accomplish that day.

I know the Forecast view is hardwired to show anything and everything with a due date. But practically, it would be so much more useful to me if it would just show the Action Group “Prepare Files for John Doe” with the option to drill down and see those actions IF I need to. As it stands, the Forecast view is pretty much unusable just because it’s throwing so much information at me.

Anyone have any work arounds or solutions to this problem?

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One approach I could suggest is to create a separate action that is a pointer to your full action group, and which will carry the due date. So you would have:

  • An action group or project ‘John Doe deliverables’ containing the checklist of 30 items, without any due dates.
  • An action ‘Prepare assets for John Doe’. This would have the due date. In the notes section, you can put a link to the full action group/project.

You’d see only the single action appearing in Forecast, and you could flag or tag the full checklist project to make it appear in some of your perspectives, which offer more control over presentation (eg. perspectives returning ‘Entire Projects’ will enable you to expand/collapse the checklists).

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I tried this, but quickly realized my action group will still inherit the due date of the project it is contained in. So the only solution I can think of is to not give the project a due date (which feels very counter-intuitive to me).

So far it achieves the results I want within the forecasts tab, but now that my projects themselves don’t have due dates, it causes new issues in other custom perspectives I have set up (those set to sort projects by due date)

Indeed, this approach is all-or-nothing: the single action in effect replaces the old project throughout your system, and the isolated project is only there to provide details of the tasks with the ability to check them off individually.

This can work when the checklist is to be performed all in one go, so you don’t need to specify different contexts or dates per task. If that’s not the case, then the way OF works is relevant, and I would live with the fact that many actions may surface in perspectives that return ‘Individual actions’.

To make things more consistent in your system, instead of creating a new single action you can make it a project containing no actions (and it has the relevant due date and tags). This way it is in your project hierarchy as before which is better for visualising goals. You now have two projects instead of one: one without all the task detail and one with it (which can be moved to a different folder to keep it out of sight). Downsides: a bit more maintenance, and you will technically have ‘stalled’ projects (don’t have a next action defined) if you check for this during reviews (and even this is manageable: create a special tag to assign to the ‘pointer projects’ and exclude these from the ‘Stalled’ perspective).

I use the two-project method with a link from the master task to the one with all of the checkbox details. It works reasonably well, albeit I’d prefer to see the OmniGroup team add more preference options to the Forecast view to make this automatic if that is your preferred way to work. I love using OF for checklists but they can very quickly clutter a perspective if you don’t sequester them correctly.

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